Harare seek maternity fees solution
16 April 2018
HARARE City Council requires a funding arrangement if they are to scrap maternity fees at their clinics as requested by the Ministry of for Health and Child Care.
Acting Director of Health Services, Clemence Duri, reported that the acting secretary for Health and Child Care, Robert Mudyiradima, wrote to his office advising them on the need for City clinics to remove maternity fees.
According to the Education, Health, Housing and Community Services and Licensing Committee minutes:
“Maternity fees were known to be a barrier to timely access to maternity services and this contributed to maternal and child morbidity and mortality.
“All Government run (health) institutions had removed maternity fees as part of the Ministry’s 100-day plan and in compliance to a long standing policy.
“The Acting Secretary’s letter referred to agreement that was there with the City.
“The only agreement that was there was a 1976 Agreement that obliged the Ministry to reimburse the City 50 percent of its recurrent and capital expenditure on Heath. Unfortunately the Ministry of Health and Child Care had not been honouring the agreement and the last grant was received in 2011.
“In 2017, the City received $981 228 income from maternity fees which is a significant amount. The City Health Services were already underfunded and could therefore not afford to forego this income without alternative funding.
“It was also important to note that the removal of maternity fees would result in increased demand. If this was not matched by a corresponding increase in capacity especially increased staff established, this would severely compromise quality.”
The acting Director of Health Services added it was therefore essential that the city expeditiously negotiated a funding arrangement for maternity services with the health ministry before the maternity fees are removed.
Following discussion, Council resolved to recommend that it notes the correspondence from the ministry.
“Council notes that the agreement referred to in the circular is the 1976 Agreement which obliges the MOHCC to reimburse the City 50 percent of its expenditure on Health.
“Council notes that the City Health Services are already underfunded and the removal of maternity fees without alternative funding would cripple the delivery of health services. Council also notes that the removal of maternity fees will likely to result in increased demand that has to be matched by corresponding capacity improvements in terms of more human resources and other consumables,” read the minutes.